The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities has announced it will start naming and shaming failing landlords on government social media
The government will start naming and shaming failing landlords on its social media platforms.
The Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities will use published findings from the Housing Ombudsman and judgements from the Regulator of Social Housing to identify severe maladministration and breach of consumer standards.
These findings will be included in social media posts highlighting poor practice by landlords.
All landlords are expected to self-refer breaches of standards to the Regulator of Social Housing
The Regulator sets consumer standards which set minimum expectations for all registered providers of social housing. These are:
- The Home Standard
- The Tenancy Standard
- The Neighbourhood and Community Standard
- The Tenant Involvement and Empowerment Standard
Currently, all landlords are expected to report themselves to the Regulator for any breaches of standards, and the Regulator can only react to these reports or referrals from third parties such as the Ombudsman.
The Regulator can also act if a ‘serious detriment’ test is met, meaning that they have reasonable grounds to suspect that the tenants have suffered or are at risk of serious detriment.
The government has committed to legislating to remove the ‘serious detriment’ test and enable the Regulator to introduce proactive consumer regulation and has published draft clauses to deliver this.
The government will also share on social media all breaches of the consumer standards published by the Regulator of Social Housing.
The Regulator can already take action on breaches of economic standards
The Regulator assesses landlords against its economic standards and is able to proactively regulate against these, seeking assurance from landlords that they are complying with legislation such as the Rent Standard.
Given the Regulator can already proactively regulate against the economic standards, the government will be focusing its attention on breaches of the consumer standards. Providers are expected to continue to comply with all of the regulatory standards.
The government will use findings from the Housing Ombudsman Service
The Housing Ombudsman is an independent body from the government and impartially resolves disputes between tenants, leaseholders and their social landlords- with 2,316 member landlords representing 4.7 million households under its remit.
In 2020/21 the Ombudsman issued a total of 3,455 orders and recommendations following investigations and made awards of compensation totalling £450k.
The Ombudsman’s Complaint Handling Code provides a framework for high-quality complaint handling to help landlords resolve complaints quickly and effectively. Several landlords have reviewed the processes to ensure these matters do not recur. This is part of the Ombudsman’s work to share learning from complaints to improve services for residents.
When things cannot be resolved the Ombudsman can investigate and make orders or recommendations to put things right where mistakes have been made.
As part of their decisions the Ombudsman can make findings of maladministration where they find that a landlord has failed to do something, done something it shouldn’t have or caused unreasonable delays.
A dialogue will be established between the government and landlords to resolve issues
In the most serious cases residents have often experienced problems over an extended period and there have been missed opportunities by the landlord to resolve them. In recent times this has often included repairs, leaks, damp and mould.
Where appropriate, the Secretary of State will contact landlords to understand how they are taking appropriate steps to address the Ombudsman’s and Regulator’s findings. It is hoped that this new tactic will play a role in raising the standard of housing across England.
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